George Bernard Shaw Quotes

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The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.
Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can't sleep with the window open.
George Bernard Shaw
Virtue consists, not in abstaining from vice, but in not desiring it.
Find enough clever things to say, and you're a Prime Minister; write them down and you're a Shakespeare.
George Bernard Shaw
All genuinely intellectual work is humorous.
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
George Bernard Shaw
What Englishman will give his mind to politics as long as he can afford to keep a motor car?
George Bernard Shaw
In this world there is always danger for those who are afraid of it.
Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.
George Bernard Shaw
Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.
There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.
Socialism, reduced to its simplest legal and practical expression, means the complete discarding of the institution of private property by transforming it into public property, and the division of the resultant public income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population.
George Bernard Shaw
If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example.
George Bernard Shaw
I never resist temptation, because I have found that things that are bad for me do not tempt me.
George Bernard Shaw
No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.
George Bernard Shaw
Nothing is ever done in this world until men are prepared to kill one another if it is not done.
George Bernard Shaw
We are the only real aristocracy in the world: the aristocracy of money.
We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
George Bernard Shaw
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.
George Bernard Shaw
The truth is, hardly any of us have ethical energy enough for more than one really inflexible point of honor.
George Bernard Shaw
Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.
The first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.
George Bernard Shaw
Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!
George Bernard Shaw
Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.
George Bernard Shaw
The frontier between hell and heaven is only the difference between two ways of looking at things.
George Bernard Shaw
We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, not as they are said to be.
George Bernard Shaw
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.
George Bernard Shaw
Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.
George Bernard Shaw
It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.
George Bernard Shaw
Life levels all men. Death reveals the eminent.
A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell.
England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years and justify our existence… on pain of liquidation.
George Bernard Shaw
The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
George Bernard Shaw
An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in it.
George Bernard Shaw
I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
George Bernard Shaw
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
George Bernard Shaw
Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family.
George Bernard Shaw
Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course.
George Bernard Shaw
Old men are dangerous: it doesn't matter to them what is going to happen to the world.
George Bernard Shaw
Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.
If there was nothing wrong in the world there wouldn't be anything for us to do.
George Bernard Shaw
Every man over forty is a scoundrel.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw
In a battle all you need to make you fight is a little hot blood and the knowledge that it's more dangerous to lose than to win.
George Bernard Shaw
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
The heretic is always better dead. And mortal eyes cannot distinguish the saint from the heretic.
George Bernard Shaw
The test of a man or woman's breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.
One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven't and don't.
George Bernard Shaw
A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.
George Bernard Shaw
Virtue is insufficient temptation.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw
The minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong.
You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
George Bernard Shaw
The idea of personal salvation is intensely repugnant to me when it is not absurd. Imagine Roosevelt, the big brute, preserving his personality in a future state and swaggering about as a celestial Rough Rider!
George Bernard Shaw
Life would be tolerable but for its amusements.
Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness.
George Bernard Shaw
It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
In heaven an angel is nobody in particular.
Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.
George Bernard Shaw
Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.
The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
I want to destroy ownership in order that possession and enjoyment may be raised to the highest point in every section of the community.
George Bernard Shaw
My method of getting a play across the footlights is like a revolver shooting: every line has a bullet in it and comes with an explosion.
George Bernard Shaw
Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
Lack of money is the root of all evil.
Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.
If I own a large part of Scotland, I can turn the people off the land practically into the sea or across the sea. I can take women in child-bearing and throw them into the snow and leave them there. That has been done. I can do it for no better reason than I think it is better to shoot deer on the land than allow people to live on it.
George Bernard Shaw
Kings are not born: they are made by artificial hallucination.
If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion.
George Bernard Shaw
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
All my life affection has been showered upon me, and every forward step I have made has been taken in spite of it.
George Bernard Shaw
No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.
George Bernard Shaw
Socialism never arises in the earlier phases of capitalism, as, for instance, among the pioneers of civilisation in a country where there is plenty of land available for private appropriation by the last comer.
George Bernard Shaw
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
George Bernard Shaw
If women were particular about men's characters, they would never get married at all.
George Bernard Shaw
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw
Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
George Bernard Shaw
Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.
George Bernard Shaw
Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it.
George Bernard Shaw
Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.
I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would be an affront to your intelligence.
George Bernard Shaw
A statesman who confines himself to popular legislation – or, for the matter of that, a playwright who confines himself to popular plays – is like a blind man's dog who goes wherever the blind man pulls him, on the ground that both of them want to go to the same place.
George Bernard Shaw
I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.
George Bernard Shaw
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
George Bernard Shaw
He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.
George Bernard Shaw
The British soldier can stand up to anything except the British War Office.
George Bernard Shaw
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
George Bernard Shaw
Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.
We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.
Most people do not pray; they only beg.
You cannot be a hero without being a coward.
Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.
If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.
George Bernard Shaw
Youth is wasted on the young.
Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing.
Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English.
There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than marriage.
George Bernard Shaw
There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it.
If you're not producing as much as you consume, or perhaps a little more, then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us, and it can't be of very much use to yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.
George Bernard Shaw
The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty-stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man.
George Bernard Shaw
The perfect love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post.
Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.
When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.
George Bernard Shaw
Human beings are the only animals of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid.
George Bernard Shaw
I want to be all used up when I die.
The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.
George Bernard Shaw
An asylum for the sane would be empty in America.
If you injure your neighbour, better not do it by halves.
Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.
George Bernard Shaw
A veteran journalist has never had time to think twice before he writes.
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income.
George Bernard Shaw
Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?
George Bernard Shaw
Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
It's so hard to know what to do when one wishes earnestly to do right.
I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.
Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.
George Bernard Shaw
Those who do not know how to live must make a merit of dying.
Until the men of action clear out the talkers we who have social consciences are at the mercy of those who have none.
George Bernard Shaw
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
George Bernard Shaw
The Nazi movement is in many respects one which has my warmest sympathy.
The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.
Every person who has mastered a profession is a skeptic concerning it.
A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.
Parentage is a very important profession, but no test of fitness for it is ever imposed in the interest of the children.
George Bernard Shaw
Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.
A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
George Bernard Shaw
While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered animals, how can we expect any ideal living conditions on this earth?
George Bernard Shaw
What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts.
George Bernard Shaw
The Old Testament God is a person with body parts and passions. The Church of England God has neither body, parts nor passions, and is therefore not a person.
George Bernard Shaw
Men have to do some awfully mean things to keep up their respectability.
He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.
George Bernard Shaw
Political necessities sometime turn out to be political mistakes.
Syllables govern the world.
What is the use of writing plays, what is the use of writing anything, if there is not a will which finally moulds chaos itself into a race of gods.
George Bernard Shaw
We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life.
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.
George Bernard Shaw
You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'
George Bernard Shaw
General consultant to mankind.
The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time.
George Bernard Shaw
Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men.
George Bernard Shaw
If I were a woman, I'd simply refuse to speak to any man or do anything for men until I'd got the vote.
George Bernard Shaw
Caesar was a man of great common sense and good taste, meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.
George Bernard Shaw
Hell is full of musical amateurs.
You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.
George Bernard Shaw
Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.
George Bernard Shaw
Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad.
George Bernard Shaw
It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.
There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses.
Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
George Bernard Shaw
If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment, other people's opinions will rush in from all quarters.
George Bernard Shaw
A man who has no office to go, to I don't care who he is, is a trial of which you can have no conception.
George Bernard Shaw
Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences may be serious.
A little learning is a dangerous thing, but we must take that risk because a little is as much as our biggest heads can hold.
George Bernard Shaw
When a man says money can do anything, that settles it: he hasn't got any.
George Bernard Shaw
I'm an atheist and I thank God for it.
An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.
A man never tells you anything until you contradict him.
You are going to let the fear of poverty govern you life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.
George Bernard Shaw
You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young ones carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub.
George Bernard Shaw
Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends.
She had lost the art of conversation but not, unfortunately, the power of speech.
George Bernard Shaw
Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men's imperfections, and conceal your own.
George Bernard Shaw
Creation is a miracle of daily recurrence. 'A miracle a minute' would not be a bad slogan for God.
George Bernard Shaw
People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.
George Bernard Shaw
In socialism, private property is anathema, and equal distribution of income the first consideration. In capitalism, private property is cardinal, and distribution left to ensue from the play of free contract and selfish interest on that basis, no matter what anomalies it may present.
George Bernard Shaw
I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle-class morality.
George Bernard Shaw
The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.
Man can climb to the highest summits, but he cannot dwell there long.
What is virtue but the Trade Unionism of the married?
The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
George Bernard Shaw
Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.
George Bernard Shaw
Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.
George Bernard Shaw
Home life is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
George Bernard Shaw
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
George Bernard Shaw
Why, except as a means of livelihood, a man should desire to act on the stage when he has the whole world to act in, is not clear to me.
George Bernard Shaw
Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
My reputation grows with every failure.
Few of us have vitality enough to make any of our instincts imperious.
Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
George Bernard Shaw
The art of government is the organisation of idolatry.
The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw
Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn't really hurt.
George Bernard Shaw
Property is organized robbery.
What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.
George Bernard Shaw
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them.
George Bernard Shaw
If a woman can, by careful selection of a father and nourishment of herself, produce a citizen with efficient senses, sound organs and a good digestion, she should clearly be secured a sufficient reward for that natural service to make her willing to undertake and repeat it.
George Bernard Shaw
An index is a great leveller.
Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
George Bernard Shaw
Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.
Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
George Bernard Shaw
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
George Bernard Shaw
The best place to find God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
The natural term of the affection of the human animal for its offspring is six years.
George Bernard Shaw
It's easier to replace a dead man than a good picture.
The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves.
Do not try to live forever. You will not succeed.
The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man.
George Bernard Shaw
Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.
It is most unwise for people in love to marry.
There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not.
George Bernard Shaw
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.
George Bernard Shaw
I never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people.
George Bernard Shaw
I have a strong feeling that I shall be glad when I am dead and done for – scrapped at last to make room for somebody better, cleverer, more perfect than myself.
George Bernard Shaw
There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.
Better never than late.
You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something.
George Bernard Shaw
The love of economy is the root of all virtue.
The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.
The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.
George Bernard Shaw
Marriage is good enough for the lower classes: they have facilities for desertion that are denied to us.
George Bernard Shaw
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
Martyrdom: The only way a man can become famous without ability.
Very few people can afford to be poor.
Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
George Bernard Shaw
I am a Christian. That obliges me to be a Communist.